Couple Can Sue Laptop-Tracking Company for Spying on Sex Chats

August 30, 2011

Kim Zetter

An Ohio woman and her boyfriend can sue a laptop-tracking company that recorded their sexually explicit communications in an effort to identify thieves who stole the computer the woman was using.

U.S. District Judge Walter Rice ruled last week against Absolute Software, which provides software and services for tracking stolen computers. Absolute sought a summary judgment in its favor, insisting that one of its theft recovery agents acted properly when he captured sexually explicit images of Susan Clements-Jeffrey communicating via webcam with her boyfriend and passed them to police in an effort to recover the stolen computer.

But the judge found that there were grounds to believe Absolute had gone too far, and that a jury might reasonably decide that it had violated the plaintiffs. privacy and broken the law. The case raises an important issue about the length that someone can legally go to recover stolen goods.


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